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US plans to press FBI into counter-terror ops

Published: May 28, 2009
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Source: New Kerala

The US plans to push the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Justice Department into global counter-terrorism operations in a shift away from the Bush administration's policy that relied largely on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a media report said Thursday.

Moreover, the CIA-dominated system of clandestine detentions and interrogations will be replaced with one built around transparent investigations and prosecutions, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Under the 'global justice' initiative, which has been in the works for several months, FBI agents will have a central role in overseas counter-terrorism cases. They will expand their questioning of suspects and evidence-gathering to try to ensure that criminal prosecutions are an option, officials familiar with the effort were quoted as saying.

While the initiative is a work in progress, some senior counter-terrorism officials and administration policymakers see it as key to the national security strategy President Barack Obama laid out last week -- one that presumes most accused terrorists have the right to contest the charges against them in a "legitimate" setting, the Times said.

The "global justice" plan aims to bring virtually all suspects to a court of law in the US or abroad. That will be the case whether a suspected terrorist is captured on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan
, in the Philippine jungle or in a mosque in Nigeria, said a senior US counter-terrorism official with knowledge of the initiative.

"Regardless of where any bad guy is caught, we want the bureau to be in a position to put charges on them," the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, was quoted as saying.

Asked about the initiative, FBI assistant director and chief spokesman John J. Miller said: "We have no comment on it at this time."

--- IANS

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